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Dave's line in the first panel is very similar to a line from Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, a book that's ended up having a surprisingly heavy influence on my comics.

Helen probably did design Artie's human body to make him happy, but nothing makes Artie happy. The more you try to please him, the more he angsts about it. Few things in Narbonic amuse me as much as a well-turned Artie line, and "the antithesis of all my values made flesh" never fails to put a smile on my face.

Dammit, I should've made that bicep bigger. You can never have too much beefcake.

This was unconsciously ripped off the scene in "Seinfeld" where Jerry tells George that he slept with Elaine. Looking over it afterward, it's a little embarrassing how much of my stuff is heavily influenced by "Seinfeld" and "Cheers."

Man, that's a tasty-looking burger Dave's got. Cartoon hamburgers always look so tasty. They're on a level with those prop cakes Muppets sometimes eat. In my household, "Muppet cake" is code for "irresistibly appetizing."

Artie ordered a salad, of course.

I wrote this one late in the storyline and did a lot of last-minute rewriting. It's okay, but Dave came out all wrong in the third panel and it still bugs me. Oh well.

This one is cute, and also fairly autobiographical. I'm still waiting for Andrew to wise up.

As per Helen's instructions, Dave is picking out clothes for Artie. I don't know how this results in Artie having presentable clothes in subsequent strips, but let's all suspend our disbelief here. Anyway, this strip is good except that I had an embarrassingly hard time drawing racks of clothing.

The little note at bottom right reads, "P.S. bkitu & 42 -- congrats!" It's a nod to my friend Chris Gleason (nicknamed Best Kisser in the Universe on our old Usenet group) and his wife on the day of their wedding.

I like Dave's comment in the second panel because that's what I would do.

30 comments:
Doug Wykstra (dwykstra) says:

I was always confused by the "antithesis of all my values made flesh" line.  Is Artie saying that he values human imperfection as an intrinsic good?  Is physical beauty to be opposed on principle in his mind?

Joe Glow (joe_glow) says:

Artie's whole arm is pretty enormous, even if the bicep isn't sticking out much.  It's bigger than Dave's neck, for example.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Too Fat Polka", Ross MacLean & Arthur Richardson)

I was born into a body furry, brown and small ...
On the floor I'd crawl,
Didn't mind at all ...
Helen put me in a body over six feet tall!
As I feared,
It's too weird!
Listen to me bawl!

    CHORUS:
    Oh, I don't want it!  I can't stand it!
    It's too good for me!
    Helen made for me
    My own fantasy!
    I don't want it, I can't stand it,
    It's too good for me!
    How I'm built
    Gives me guilt
    It's too good for me!

This re-shaping
From Narbonic ...
No escaping
That it's quite ironic!
I don't want it, I can't stand it,
It's too good for me!
What I've got,
Much too hot!
It's too good for me!

Bicep, look at the size!
Much too much, too much!
Check out both of my thighs!
Much too much, too much!
In my abs and my back,
Not an inch of slack ...
Plus, there's lots to spare
In my underwear!
Much ... too ... much!
    (repeat CHORUS)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Helen was pretty clear back then that she designed that body to seduce and/or outfight Mel.  (At this point in the strip, she could easily have assumed those would be more-or-less the same task.)  And a related exchange from the future:  "I totally do not like that he can do that."  "I'm deeply chagrined myself."

 

Steven Ehrbar (see) says:

I note, incidentally, that it's a biceps, not a bicep.  Other people might not care, but Artie would have!

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Oooh, I think Ed's on to something.  Could Artie's be a relentless man-smexer because he's already his own ideal lover, and he can't find anyone else who comes close?  (Pun not intended.)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Oooh.

Also: Is it an alfalfa salad?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

What Dave is saying: "The woman of my dreams and the object of my unrequited love revealed that she returns my affections, and we consummated the relationship that we've been dancing around for years."

What Artie is hearing: "I had sex with your mom."

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Silent penultimate panels: 40. Artie has every reason to be dumbfounded, and not just because he knows Helen's secret. He'd at least wanted to maintain the illusion that his friends were professional.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

HAMburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

It's the same thing with cartoon pies ... they're aerodynamically stable, and home in on faces.

Wayne (wayne) says:

My fav burger is Applebee's Cowboy Burger, but that's just because the local restaurant scene around Alamogordo, NM sucks so totally.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "Blue Tail Fly," traditional

For years and years, I'd lust and yearn
For Helen, and my heart would burn
My love she did reciprocate
My soul mate! Now we mate, mate, mate

Gonna be dead, and I don't care
Gonna be dead, and I don't care
Gonna be dead, and I don't care
I finally got laid

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: Theme to "Green Acres", Vic Mizzy)

I slept with Helen all last night!
I don't know how, it just seemed right!
Sat next to her, she looked so cute ...
First we were kissing, and then we were knocking boots!

Yes, Helen does this all the time ...
She's thorough, and it seems that I'm
The crux of her ex-per-i-ment!
Parts of me throbbing, and some other parts are bent!

... Touch here!
... Touch there!
... Need rest!
... Need air!

Wore out the bed ...
Soon I'll be dead,
And I don't really care!

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Awwww.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I thought it was pretty clear that he had wised up on Valentine's Day, 2003, and completely obvious on Valentine's Day, 2004.

(confusador) says:

I love how Dave doesn't really 'get' madness here.  "She could come to her senses at any minute."  Riiiiight.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

This is an episode that every human being can love.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Don't worry, Shaenon. I doubt he ever will. :)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Shaenon, I know how you feel.  Eleven years ago, some weird and wonderful woman answered my online personal, and I'm still waiting for HER to wise up.  My theory is that Lipitor causes her to hallucinate that I'm a young Tom Selleck.

(TUNE: "Wake Up, Little Susie", The Everly Brothers)

Wise up, li'l Andrew, wise up!
Wise up, li'l Andrew, wise up!
He met this girl one day,
She blew his mind away!
He said, "She's hot!"  They tied the knot
On Valentino's Day!
Wise up, li'l Andrew!  Wise up, li'l Andrew!

Well...
Shaenon can't believe her fortune!
Shaenon can't believe her luck!
Shaenon can't believe he hasn't yet said, "WTF?!"
Wise up, li'l Andrew!  Wise up, li'l Andrew!

Well, Shaenon fears that she'd end up alone ...
Exactly how I feel 'bout me and Joan!
Wise up, li'l Andrew!  Wise up, li'l Andrew!
... On second thought, don't!

Wayne (wayne) says:

Hmm, that's kind of how I felt on my honeymoon: 'have to come up with a plan in case she comes to her senses', and apparently the plan has worked for 6 1/2 years.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Yep. Dave's speaking my language here.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

1) I'm sure there's some sort of clever comment about how Artie's sexual orientation enables him to pick out stylish clothing, but I'm afraid of sounding stereotypical and offensive.

2) In panel 3, Artie's already showing off his ability to pronounce semi-colons (which ANTONIO SMITH will comment on later).

(TUNE: "I'm Into Something Good", Herman's Hermit)

Some clothes for Artie, they had to find ...
But he could tell, something's on Dave's mind!
Dave asks for Artie's advice, as they shop and converse ...
All Dave's other choices were even worse!

Artie's never had any kind of mate,
His human experience is not that great!
Asking for Artie's advice seems a bit perverse ...
All Dave's other choices were even worse!

    Rack after rack of clothing they saw ...
    (Which, by the way, are kinda hard to draw)
    Poor Dave's just like a love-struck pup,
    He is convinced he's gonna screw this up!

Dave, to his gaming group, would like to brag,
But that might end up being kind of a drag!
His bard would prob'ly get hit by an evil curse ...
(They'd hit his bard with a "shut up!" curse)
All Dave's other choices are even worse ...
All Dave's other choices are even worse ...
All Dave's other choices are even worse ...

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

i think it's nearly impossible to have clothes that *don't* flatter artie.  he'd probably look presentable in a hefty bag.

Matt Buchwald (themysticalone) says:

Racks of clothing are hard to draw.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Dave's fine at picking respectable clothes, but his problem is that he thinks the same shirt still looks good six years, eleven burritos, dozens of slices of pizza, and two-and-a-half washings later.

Also, clothing looks worse when it's ill-fitting, and Dave both slouches and has Mountain Dew gut.
Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

I have met people who can pronounce semi-colons. They are usually very, very scary.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "The Logical Song", Supertramp)

Right out of school, I got a job with Helen B.!
Her biology ... had creativity, lunacy!
Then a gerbil she took, and she gave him sapience!
High intelligence ... sentience, common sense!

Then with Helen one night, we spoke of feelings mutual ...
It was sexual ... enjoyable, animal!
But then Artie tells Dave to be the one responsible!
Helen's brain is full ... a barrelful of s**t she'll pull!

Buying clothes, we hit the discount store,
We can't buy any more,
Our card is at the max!
With a *hic*, poor Artie's gotten small ...
I'll have to carry all,
Yes, all these stupid sacks
Full of slacks ... shirts and slacks ... T.J. Maxx!

Chris Gleason (thebkitu) says:

Awwwwwww! Thanks so much, Norb!

il biggo (biggo) says:

"Norb" is a great nickname.

Kinda reminds me of the government guy in The Freak Brothers XD

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile